The average American man over age 20 weighs 195.7 pounds. The average waist circumference is 40 inches, and the average height is just over 5 feet 9 inches (about 69.2 inches) tall.
By comparison, the average American woman weighs 168.5 pounds, has a waist of 38.1 inches, and is just under 5 feet 4 inches (about 63.7 inches) tall.
As time wears on, American men are increasing in both stature and weight. In 1960, the average man weighed 166.3 pounds and stood at just over 5 feet 8 inches (about 68.3 inches) tall.
American women are also reporting an increase in height and weight over time. In 1960, the average woman weighed 140 pounds and stood at just over 5 feet 3 inches (about 63.1 inches) tall.
Here’s more about why this is happening and what you can do to keep your weight in a healthy range for your stature.
The average weight of people in the United States and North America as a whole is higher than any other region on Earth.
In 2005, BMC Public Health used combined statistics for men and women to report the following average weight by continent:
- North America: 177.9 pounds
- Oceania, including Australia: 163.4 pounds
- Europe: 156.1 pounds
- Latin American/Caribbean: 149.7 pounds
- Africa: 133.8 pounds
- Asia: 127.2 pounds
The world average for an adult’s weight is 136.7 pounds.
Compiling average weights is simple enough, but determining a healthy or ideal weight is a little more complicated.
One of the most common tools is the body mass index (BMI). BMI uses a formula that involves your height and weight.
To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches squared. Multiply that result by 703. You can also plug this information into an online calculator.
To know whether your BMI is normal or if it falls under another category, consult this chart:
- underweight: anything under 18.5
- healthy: anything between 18.5 and 24.9
- overweight: anything between 25 and 29.9
- obese: anything above 30
Although BMI doesn’t directly measure body fat, its results do correlate somewhat closely with the results of other body fat measurement methods.
Some of these methods include:
- skinfold thickness measurements
- bioelectrical impedance, which uses a device to measure the flow of electrical current in the body
- densitometry, which uses underwater weighing
Using your BMI to gauge whether your weight is in the healthy or normal range isn’t always a perfect tool. An athlete, for example, may weigh more than a non-athlete of the same height, but be in much better physical condition. That’s because muscle is denser than fat, which contributes to a higher weight.
Gender is also a consideration. Women tend to store more body fat than men. Likewise, older adults tend to carry more body fat and have less muscle mass than younger adults of the same height.
But if you’re looking for a reasonable estimate of an ideal weight for your height, consider the following chart:
|Height||Healthy weight (BMI 18.5–24.9)|
One of the main limitations of BMI is that it doesn’t take a person’s frame into consideration. A slim man and a broad-shouldered man of the same height may have very different weights, but be equally fit.
One way to determine if you have a small, medium, or large frame is to measure your wrist. If you’re a man taller than 5 feet 5 inches and have a wrist circumference between 5.5 inches and 6.5 inches, you probably have a small frame.
A wrist between 6.5 and 7.5 inches indicates a medium frame, and a wrist that’s larger than 7.5 inches typically suggests a large frame.
For a sense of how your frame may help determine a healthy weight for you, consider this chart of height, frame size, and weight in pounds:
|Height||Small frame||Medium frame||Large frame|
Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent a range of problems, such as:
If you need to drop a few pounds to get to your ideal weight, here are some key steps to help get you there:
Set realistic weight loss goals. Instead of focusing on a large, big-picture goal, go low. For example, instead of being set on losing 50 pounds this year, aim for losing a pound a week.
Follow a healthy diet. It should focus mainly on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds. Limit your consumption of added sugars, alcohol, and saturated fats.
Pay attention to portion sizes at mealtime. Try cutting your usual portions in half. If you typically have two slices of pizza on Saturday night, just have one and some salad. A food journal can help you track what and how much you're eating.
Exercise daily. Aim for 30 to 40 minutes daily or at least 150 minutes per week. Your exercise regimen should include cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises. You can also work out with a friend or relative to motivate you to get up and go work out.
Although being 69.2 inches tall and weighing 195 pounds may be “average” for an American man, that also represents a BMI of 29 — the high end of the “overweight” classification. Average doesn’t always mean ideal, at least in the United States.
You should also keep in mind that there are several different formulas and calculations used to determine what heights and weights are. None of them perfect. You may be just the right weight for your large frame, even though another measure may label you as overweight.
Healthy weight isn’t always a guarantee of good health. You can have a normal BMI, but if you smoke and don’t exercise or eat right, you’re still at risk for heart disease and other underlying conditions.
If you’re concerned about your health, talk with your doctor. They can help you understand where exactly your weight falls on the spectrum and how this may relate to your overall health. If needed, they can help set a good goal weight for you and work with you on strategies to get there.
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